US inflation hits 40-year high in new blow for Joe Biden

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Unemployment has also dropped back below 4pc and wage pressures are building in response to the rise in inflation, prompting debate among rate-setters over when to begin shrinking the Fed’s balance sheet. 

Christoph Balz, senior economist at Commerzbank, said: “The increasingly tight labour market is also increasing the risks to price stability. It is not compatible with the still unchanged low key interest rates and the continued expansionary monetary policy. The Fed must, and will, take countermeasures soon.”

Jamie Dimon, chief executive of JP Morgan, said this week there was “huge pressure” on the US labour market for the first time in his life. “The price of labour’s going up, we’re going to have to deal with it.”

However, that was not as bad as other potential economic scenarios, he told Fox Business. “It’s much worse to complain about 15pc unemployment and a recession than it is to complain about wages going up too fast.”

Global supply chains are also being disrupted by China’s zero-Covid policy, with the emergence of the omicron variant threatening to draw out the pain. 

The dire inflation figures follow a survey from the National Federation of Independent Business showing the share of companies raising prices at the highest for 40 years. 

The proportion of firms expecting to raise their prices even further in the next three months is also at a record high.

James Knightley, ING’s chief international economist, said: “The breadth of corporate pricing power must alarm the Federal Reserve, especially in an environment where labour costs are accelerating as firms desperately seek workers.”

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